European Music In Numbers


Here are some useful statistics:



  • IMPALA represents over 4000 independent music companies and national associations.
  • IMPALA Sales Awards represent over 100 million albums sold and €1.5 billion in revenue.


The independents

  • The music sector consists of thousands of independents and (since September 2012) 3 multinationals – “the majors”.
  • 99% of music businesses are micro, small or medium sized enterprises – “the independents”.
  • The independents are the innovators and early adopters, discovering new talent and producing 80% of all new releases.
  • The independents are responsible for 80% of the sector’s jobs, in line with the average 80% of Europe’s jobs generated by SMEs.
  • The global independent record label sector is worth $6.9bn representing 39.9% of the global market (key statistics and this infographic are taken from WIN's analysis of the independent music sector).
  • The biggest independent now has only 1.5% of the market. Previously this was 7%. The biggest major has 34%.
  • The combined market share of the majors is more than 80% (including distribution), climbing to a massive 95% for Top 100 on radio in Europe. Even the Top 2000 is concentrated - only 10% is independent.
  • Merlin (the global digital right agency for the independent label sector) members' distribution revenue grew eightfold in 4 years to $353M (2017).
  • For the third year running, over 2/3 of Merlin members reported growth each year (2017).
  • 67% of Merlin members surveyed reported that digital income represents over 50% their overall business revenues and 64% reported that audio streaming accounts for the majority of their digital revenues (2017).
  • 83% of Merlin members are optimistic about the future of their business (2017).


European Music

  • European cultural & creative sectors account for 7 million jobs and €509 billion of Europe's GDP.
  • Europe generates over one third of global recorded music revenues.
  • European recorded music revenues totalled €5.27 billion in 2016. Streaming revenues grew to 45.5% to $1.52 billion more than compensating declines in physical formats and downloads (2016).
  • In Europe, paid subscription represent 83.1% of streaming revenues.
  • Performance rights grew by 3.4% to €1.22 billion in 2016, representing 23.2% of total European music revenues.
  • Copyright-intensive sectors account for 9.9 million EU jobs.
  • Copyright-intensive industries make a positive contribution to the EU's trade balance: net export of €15bn.


Music industry

  • In 2017, global recorded music revenues totalled $17.3 billion. They rose 8.1% on 2016.
  • The music industry's digital revenues grew by 19.1% in 2017, to $9.4bn, with a 41.1% increase in streaming revenue (2017).
  • Digital music revenues now account for 54% of total industry revenues, compared to 30% for physical sales (2017). 
  • Revenues from streaming grew to $6.6 billion in 2017 - a growth of 41.1% compared to 2016 - to become the industry's primary digital revenue stream (2017).
  • Number of paying subscribers rose to 176 million in 2017 (97 million in 2016).
  • 50% of top tracks played on radio and downloaded in Europe are American.
  • Record companies invested $4.5 bn in research and development and marketing in 2015, representing 27% of these companies’ revenues.
  • As a whole, the music industry invested 16.9% of its revenue in research and development for new artists in 2015. It is higher than other research-intensive industries (e.g. pharmaceuticals and biotechnology 14.4%, software and computer services 10.1%, aerospace and defence 4.5%, etc.).
  • IPR‐intensive industries pay significantly higher wages than other industries, with a wage premium of more than 40%, with copyright-intensive sectors having the highest premium (69%).


      Digital services and Social media

      • There are more than 230 digital music services available across the EU, providing access to more than 40 million tracks.
      • 6 of the top 10 most liked people on Facebook are music artists (updated: June 2016).
      • 7 of the top 10 most followed people on Twitter are music artists (updated: June 2016).
      • 9 of the top 10 most watched videos of all time on YouTube are music videos. Out of the top 20, 18 are music videos (updated: June 2016).


      The value gap


      • YouTube makes up 47% of on-demand music streaming 
      • Video streaming overall makes up 52% of on demand music streaming (paid audio streaming 28% & free audio streaming 20%)
      • In 2017, with 272m users audio streams (paid & free) generated $5.569bn, while video streams with 1.3bn users generated $856m 
      • Globally, 38% consume music through copyright infringement.
      • Spotify paid record companies $20 per user in 2015 while Youtube returned less than $1 for each user.
      • Merlin members report that video streaming services command 10 times more users than audio streaming services - but return less than 10% of the revenues


      Further statistics



      All latest press


      Copyright directive - balancing interests of all stakeholders